Sunday, May 24, 2009

Eleanor Rigby

by Douglas Coupland

Eleanor Rigby is a delightful novel about Liz Dunn: a very lonely, overweight, highly intelligent, and plain woman whose life is changed through a chain of events beginning on the summer night of 1997. Liz observes the Hale-Bopp comet streaking across the sky and takes it for a sign of hope and change. She had just loaded her self up with videos and pain medication and taken enough sick days to nurse herself through a painful dentist visit. Soon after, a strange young visionary named Jeremy enters her life and her entire world is turned inside out.

The encounter with Jeremy is no chance happening. It is an event Liz had been anticipating for some time. Now he has entered her life, Liz will spend the next several months on a journey of self-discovery and unselfish care. Be prepared for smiles and tears.

Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X and Life After God, in his latest novel, continues to explore the landscapes of loneliness, change, and second chances. It’s a heart-warming novel filled with bizarre and strange twists. It is a quick read, but one you will want to revisit again. Below is an excerpt.
Halfway into the news, right after a Burger King commercial, a story appeared about meat production. I’m a carnivore, but, like many people these days, thinking about it too much can give me the willies.

…The thing about meat with me, though, is how it speaks to me about the human body. All of us are stuck inside our meaty bodies. I’ve always imagined that regular people are happy to be inside their bodies, whereas lonely people yearn to ditch their carcasses. I suspect lonely people wish they could forget the whole meat-and-bone issue altogether. We’re the people most likely to believe in reincarnation simply because we can’t believe we were shackled into our meat in the first place. Lonely people want to be dead, yet we’re still not quite ready to go—we don’t want to miss the action, we want to see who wins next year’s Academy Awards. More to the point, the lonely, like all humans, yearn to meet that somebody who’ll make us feel better about being trapped inside our species’ meat-and-bone soul containment system. Oh God, I sound like a prison warden.

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